How Many Different Translations Are There Of The Bible?

It may be surprising to consider here in the 21st century, but there was a time when translating the Bible into the language of the reader was extremely fraught. Indeed, as The L.A. Review of Books notes, for centuries the clergy wanted to keep the knowledge contained within for themselves, and not have it translated so that the common man (or at least, the literate common man) could read it in his own tongue. One of the earliest pioneers of translating the Bible into English, William Tyndale, paid for his crime by being burned at the stake.

These days, Bible translation continues, as some Christian missionaries believe it their sacred duty to render the ancient text into the languages the people in their chosen missionary field speak and (maybe) read, according to Wycliffe Bible Translators. Of course, the most-spoken languages in the world have their own Bible translations, in some cases several, and in some cases those translations have been around for centuries. But for speakers of more obscure languages, translation work continues, and the day may never come when every last extant language has its own Bible translation.

Translated into over 700 languages

According to Tyndale Bible Translators, the Bible has been translated fully into 717 languages, meaning that roughly 5.75 billion people have at least one translation of the Bible in their language (although it bears noting that not all of those people may legally possess one in their country). Translators who have decided to focus only on the New Testament have managed to get that text translated into 1,582 languages, allowing another 830 million people access, at least theoretically, to that portion of the text. Further, certain portions have been translated into 1,196 other languages, adding another 457 million people to the list of those who, theoretically at least, have access to a Bible or a portion of the Bible.

Of course, that is not the end of the discussion. Some languages have multiple translations; for example, according to, there are 450 different translations of the Bible in English alone, about 21 in Spanish (per The L.A. Times), and three (major) ones in French, according to Fluentu.

Meanwhile, according to Tyndale Bible Translators, at least 20% of the world's population is still waiting on a translation of the full Bible into their native language.